SAS Who Dares Wins Series 8 Group Shot CREDIT Channel 4
How do you think these new SAS Who Dares Wins recruits will fare in the jungle? (Picture: Channel 4).
TV

Jungle Hell: Let's meet this year's SAS Who Dares Wins recruits

SAS Who Dares Wins Series 8 Group Shot CREDIT Channel 4
How do you think these new SAS Who Dares Wins recruits will fare in the jungle? (Picture: Channel 4).

The most brutally savage show on TV is back and this time, the SAS Who Dares Wins recruits are going to face the ultimate test of humans versus the elements, where everything is out to kill you. 

The Channel 4 show will see jungle warfare expert Billy Billingham take over as chief instructor and put a new group of recruits through the toughest challenge of their life, in one of the most brutal environments faced by Special Forces operatives. 

Of the newly designed course, Billy said: "I will take the recruits... from feeling claustrophobic to being paralysed by fear and tasting the dangers of this brutal environment, to learning how to navigate and embrace the unforgiving terrain. 

"I will bring the fear of the unknown and be unwavering in challenging the recruits physically and mentally." 

Twenty ordinary men and women, led by an elite team of ex-special forces operators from the UK and US, will attempt to complete a condensed version of the punishing jungle phase of SAS selection in Thung Ui, North Vietnam. 

Joining Billy will be new member of the Directing Staff Chris Oliver, whose military experience spans more than 16 years, Jason 'Foxy' Fox and Rudy Reyes from the US. 

Starting this Monday at 9pm on Channel 4, who will have the mental fortitude to survive jungle hell and make it to the end? 

Let's meet the recruits

This is what the programme-makers say about the contestants.

WARNING: Some of the details of the recruits' lives may be upsetting. 

Amelia, Grant and Joshua are recruits one, two and three SAS Who Dares Wins season 8 CREDIT Channel 4
(From left to right) Amelia, Grant and Joshua are SAS Who Dares Wins' recruits one, two and three (Picture: Channel 4).

Recruit One – Amelia 

Amelia describes herself as loud, bubbly, chaotic, excitable and positive. 

As a child, Amelia competed across the UK in swimming competitions but was bullied at school for having big muscles and was nicknamed 'Popeye'.  

She wants to go on the course to prove the negative voices in her head are wrong once and for all. 

She said: "I have an inner narrative that tells me I'm not good enough... so I thought if I could do this, I would be able to show myself that I can do anything and quieten or re-write that negative inner dialogue."

Recruit Two – Grant

Grant, the self-titled 'Ninja Binman', was diagnosed as having ADHD last year and sees taking part in SAS Who Dares Wins as a chance for rebirth after learning about his condition. 

When asked why he decided to take part in the show, he said: "As a person with ADH... I now realise why I found myself in a cycle of shame. 

"Shame for things I have said, or maybe done, before reading the room the way a neurotypical person might. 

"Or shame simply from a childhood drama that still haunts me today. 

"I wanted to demonstrate to myself that a number of difficulties I faced could be overcome in an incredibly unnerving and physically challenging environment." 

Recruit Three – Joshua 

Joshua grew up with his mother, two older brothers and one older sister, in a neighbourhood in east London where, he says, "the weak get eaten". 

He became involved in crime at a young age and was charged with possession of an offensive weapon before discovering boxing at the age of 16 and turning his life around. 

He now has a young family, a promising career as a super-welterweight and is keen to open up more and get rid of his demons. 

About what he hopes to gain from appearing on SAS Who Dares Wins, he said: "A fresh outlook on life and build my self-confidence. 

"Also, to see how I would react in certain situations and how I would deal with the challenges presented to me." 

Hilary, Becky and Stevie are recruits four, five and six SAS Who Dares Wins season 8 CREDIT Channel 4
(From left to right) Hilary, Becky and Stevie are SAS Who Dares Wins' recruits four, five and six (Picture: Channel 4).

Recruit Four – Hilary 

Hilary lives in north London with her two-year-old daughter and works as a HIIT, boxing and kettlebell instructor and PT. 

When Hilary was four months pregnant, her relationship with her partner broke down which led to antenatal depression while pregnant and postnatal depression after giving birth. 

Two years later, after working hard on her mental health and physical fitness, Hilary said she wanted to join the course to show that she is so much more than just a single mum. 

She said: "I saw SAS as something that would push me and connect me with my true self, by facing fears, finding limits and pushing through barriers." 

Recruit Five – Becky 

Becky is a stay-at-home mum and lives with her husband and son. 

When her daughter, Darcy, was two-and-a-half, she was diagnosed with a brain tumour. 

After surgery and several attempts to save her life, Darcy died just three weeks later. 

Becky decided to take part in SAS Who Dares Wins to see if she can find the motivation within herself to take on a new challenge and stick with it. 

When asked what Becky learned about herself from the show, she said: "That life needs to be embraced more and that there are people who hurt as hard as me for all different reasons and that sharing it can give you peace." 

Recruit Six – Stevie

Stevie has been wrestling for 14 years and was once signed to the WWE in America. 

Although Stevie adopts a loud outgoing persona when wrestling, he's actually quite shy, something he partly attributes to his parents' divorce. 

Stevie wants to take on the course to try and gain more self-confidence, saying: "I wanted to test myself in situations completely out of my comfort zone. 

"I'm a bit stuck in my ways so wanted to prove to myself I could take on new challenges and not chicken out." 

Faye, Rosie and Daniel are recruits seven, eight and nine SAS Who Dares Wins season 8 CREDIT Channel 4
(From left to right) Faye, Rosie and Daniel are SAS Who Dares Wins' recruits seven, eight and nine (Picture: Channel 4).

Recruit Seven – Faye 

Due to growing up in an extremely turbulent family, strong-willed and determined Faye had lived in about 50 different emergency placements by the time she was 11. 

After leaving the care system at 16, Faye was given her own council flat, got a job in a meat factory and decided to go to night school and re-sit her GCSEs. 

Faye now works as director of operations at an international electronics firm, is a competitive marathon runner and is studying for her pilot's licence and a PhD. 

Despite her achievements, Faye struggles to feel proud of herself so chose to take on the SAS Who Dares Wins challenge to prove herself capable. 

She said: "Due to navigating through the care system, failing at school and being told I would be a failure in life, I wanted to test my resilience and see how I could personally adapt to the brutal conditions that would lie ahead." 

Recruit Eight – Rosie 

After a tumultuous childhood, Rosie wanted to be independent and fend for herself, so she started saving for a house at 16 and eventually became a homeowner at 18. 

European jiu-jitsu medallist and multiple-time English and British champion Rosie regrets not joining the military so chose to take on the SAS Who Dares Wins course to see if she is capable of being pushed to her limits and beyond. 

She said: "I wanted to improve my mental reliance, face my fears of being in water and meet some amazing new friends. 

"I also wanted to raise awareness for Brazilian jiu-jitsu, especially for the female jiu-jitsu community. 

Recruit Nine – Daniel 

Daniel is a ballet dancer for the Lithuanian National Ballet and has been dancing since he was six-years-old. 

At just 15, Daniel got a place at the world-renowned Bolshoi Ballet School in Moscow and is only the second British person to ever fully graduate from the school. 

Daniel wants to take on the course to show that stereotypes of male ballet dancers aren't always true. 

He said: "I... always dreamed when I was younger that if I didn't become a dancer, I would have enjoyed joining the Royal Marines. 

"This gave me a small taste of that experience." 

Danica, Zac and Aliyah are recruits 10, 11 and 12 SAS Who Dares Wins season 8 CREDIT Channel 4
(From left to right) Danica, Zac and Aliyah are SAS Who Dares Wins' recruits 10, 11 and 12 (Picture: Channel 4).

Recruit 10 – Danica 

Danica is a yoga teacher, wellbeing and performance coach and says people would describe her as someone who is energetic, loving and lights up a room when she walks in. 

The recruit thinks she has been put on this earth to live a free life and the closer she is to danger, the more alive she feels. 

In the past year, Danica has been dealing with the emotional impact of her father's suicide. 

She said: "A part of me died and was reborn on that course. 

"After the most traumatic year of my life, losing my dad to suicide and the relationship with my mum breaking down and, shortly after SAS, disconnecting from my sisters, to be given the opportunity to experience this course was incredible." 

Recruit 11 – Zac  

Self-described as "loud, outspoken and demanding", Zac is a head chef at a restaurant in North Devon. 

He says he often struggles with authority figures and that people don't understand him.  

Zac was sexually abused by a man and subsequently had years of therapy and took anti-depressants for five years. 

The chef wants to find his purpose in life and says he still has very dark thoughts. 

About joining the SAS Who Dares Wins course, he said: "I wanted to try and conquer my inner demons and unlock my full potential. 

"I rid myself of a lot of self-doubt – a feeling that has really taken over in my life." 

Recruit 12 – Aliyah

Social media influencer Aliyah has more than 175,000 subscribers on YouTube and says she "fell into" influencing after uploading videos to YouTube and hasn't looked back since. 

Aliyah suffered miscarriages both in 2019 and 2021 and documented her emotional journey on social media.

The content creator now feels it's her responsibility to raise awareness of miscarriages. 

Aliyah wants to take on the course as she thinks "it will heal me in the most twisted of ways, and I want to get my spark back". 

She said: "I definitely had a life-changing experience. 

"It was scary, it was challenging and it changed me as a person. I feel like I can do anything." 

Pete, Ross and Scott are recruits 13, 14 and 15 SAS Who Dares Wins season 8 CREDIT Channel 4
(From left to right) Pete, Ross and Scott are SAS Who Dares Wins' recruits 13, 14 and 15 (Picture: Channel 4).

Recruit 13 – Pete

As a teenager, Pete thought getting stronger would make him happy and stop bullies from picking on him, so he started taking steroids. 

As his habit escalated, he was eventually thrown out of his family home at 18 because his parents found needles in his room. 

Pete has now given up steroids and hosts a podcast for the firefighter community where he also openly discusses the damaging side effects of drugs. 

He said: "I am a naturally obsessive person who, as a recovered addict, is passionate about discovering what makes people put themselves into challenging situations over and over again. 

"I want to strip that growing level of comfort and place myself around other passionate, driven and exceptional people who hold themselves to a higher standard." 

Recruit 14 – Ross 

Former firefighter Ross grew up as a Romany Gypsy, in a family with a very strict father. 

Last year, Ross unknowingly gave his parents Covid and his father, who didn't believe coronavirus existed, died a week later. 

Ross wanted to do the course so he could, in a small way, experience his childhood dream of being in the British Army. 

He said: "I wanted to test myself and see what sort of a person I was in an extreme and unknowable environment. 

"What did you hope to get out of this experience? Some confidence in my abilities, should they be warranted." 

Recruit 15 – Scott 

Scott had a tough upbringing in Zimbabwe and was moved around constantly as a child. 

When he turned 18, Scott flew to the UK to study at university and, after graduating, Scott finally secured an internship at a bank, where he was the only black trader working on his trading floor. 

Scott now works alongside a charity to encourage and support diversity and inclusion in investment banking and wants to take on the course to prove that anything is possible. 

He said: "I have always felt that any growth I've experienced as a person has been after being put through challenging and difficult, mental and physical experiences that force you to evolve and become better." 

Jordan, Jamie and Levi are recruits 16, 17 and 18 SAS Who Dares Wins season 8 CREDIT Channel 4
(From left to right) Jordan, Jamie and Levi are SAS Who Dares Wins' recruits 16, 17 and 18 (Picture: Channel 4).

Recruit 16 – Jordan 

Jordan was raised in the travelling community but, after coming out as gay when she was 16, Jordan was ostracised by the people she had grown up with. 

This dark period caused Jordan to turn to substance abuse and violence but, four years ago, Jordan discovered boxing and something clicked as she found a healthy outlet for energy and emotions. 

Jordan is now a professional boxer and lives with her wife and their one-year-old baby. 

Of her SAS Who Dares Wins experience, she said: "I wanted to realise how far I could really push myself and take that into the boxing ring in the hope to one day become world champion. 

"I push myself every single day but felt SAS would give me that extra bit of spice and drive." 

Recruit 17 – Jamie

Born profoundly deaf, Jamie was given a cochlear implant when he was six but chooses to not wear it as he prefers the peacefulness of silence. 

Jamie is England's Deaf Football Team Captain and has played in major tournaments such as the World Cup, Deaflympics and Euro Champs. 

The footballer wanted to take on the challenge of SAS Who Dares Wins to prove that deaf people are just as capable as anyone else. 

He said: "Being completely deaf doesn't mean that I am any different to anyone else and I am able to compete just as well as anyone else. 

"What I was hoping to get out of this experience was to hopefully raise awareness of deaf people and how we communicate and struggle on a daily basis." 

Recruit 18 – Levi 

In 2013, Levi came home to find that his older brother, whom he looked up to like a father, had died of a brain haemorrhage. 

Levi tried to do CPR but, he couldn't save him – a trauma which shook his world and led him to drink heavily. 

A few years ago, Levi moved to the Middle East to stop drinking and started learning Ju Jitsu as a force for self-discipline. 

He applied to become a paratrooper, a childhood dream, but was turned down because he has a tattoo on his face in memory of his brother. 

He said: "I took part because I always thought I had what it takes to be in the military. I wanted to prove to myself it was not just a fantasy in my head, so I applied and got in and gave it everything I had, my all and then some." 

Anne and Charlotte are recruits 19 and 20 SAS Who Dares Wins season 8 CREDIT Channel 4
(From left to right) Anne and Charlotte are SAS Who Dares Wins' recruits 19 and 20 (Picture: Channel 4).

Recruit 19 – Anne 

Anne says being a farmer's wife means she is constantly providing for others and often forgets about what she wants for herself. 

Anne likes to horse ride competitively and is hoping that being put through her paces by the Directing Staff will challenge her in a similar way. 

Anne wants to take on the course to regain more of her own identity and prove to herself that she doesn't have to feel guilty for doing things that are just for her. 

She said: "You only live once, my motto is to 'take every opportunity'." 

Recruit 20 – Charlotte 

Charlotte has her own nutrition consultancy business and helps elite athletes to perform at their best in competitions. 

Three years ago, Charlotte was raped and subsequently suffered severe panic attacks and depression. 

As a result, she has huge trust issues and wants to break this down and move forward. 

Charlotte wanted to take on the course to expand her horizons and looks forward to being surrounded by people and knowing that they will have her back. 

She said: "I... hoped to leave with a renewed sense of self-confidence. 

"The belief that I could do all of the things I know I've been holding myself back from over the past few years, which I think was only ever going to happen if I really got to revisit some difficult feelings." 

SAS Who Dares Wins starts on 23 January on Channel 4 at 21:00 UKT plus will also be available on BFBS TV for overseas members of the Armed Forces.